Costa Rica has launched its Programa País, with which it aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2021 and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. The country is ahead of many others in this respect: in 2017, Costa Rica covered its electricity requirements with renewable energy for 300 days. The Swiss embassy in San José is also making a contribution to sustainability. In addition to its daily awareness-raising activities, the embassy has been successfully certified to ISO standard 14064-1.
The ISO standard 14064-1 of the International Organization for Standardization specifies the requirements for climate-neutral certification. In order to obtain certification, greenhouse gas emissions must first be quantified, and a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gases must then be demonstrated.
Certification of the Swiss embassy was carried out in three phases. In phase one, relevant data on the embassy's ecological footprint was measured and analysed. In phase two, the embassy's emissions were reduced, for example by modernising the lighting system with LED bulbs. Finally, phase three focused on offsetting the remaining emissions. To this end, the embassy supported the 'Finca Florida Forestale' reforestation project on the Osa peninsula, thus offsetting a total of 16 tonnes of CO2. Finally, the whole process was verified by ISO, which certified the offsetting of emissions by the Swiss embassy in San José.
Promoting sustainability in everyday life
The Swiss embassy has limited scope with regard to sustainability measures. One of the reasons for this is that the embassy occupies just one floor of a large building. This prevents it from being able to take measures such as low-emission electricity production using solar panels on a building of its own.
In addition to ISO certification, the Swiss embassy in Costa Rica is taking further steps towards sustainability. For example, it only purchases renewable hydroelectric power from local suppliers, and its staff have been trained in resource conservation. This includes measures such as switching off lights when there is sufficient daylight, using efficient electrical appliances, using paper sparingly and actively recycling.